First played in 1996, the tournament began as a Challenge Tour event before changing to a dual ranking event in 2003. Now, after three years, it has become a full-fledged European Tour event.
And that is great news to the players teeing it up this week, not only due to the increase of prize money but also for the fact that the winner will be exempt on tour through the end of the 2008 season.
England's Iain Pyman, a former two-time champion of this event, will be in the field along with defending champion Mikael Lundberg of Sweden. Last year Lundberg, who just celebrated his 33rd birthday, finished regulation tied alongside Andrew Butterfield then captured his first tour title with a birdie on the fourth playoff hole.
It was the third playoff in the event's 10-year history.
The Imperial Collection Open will have a purse of $997,059, with the winner taking home $166,165, a figure about doubling last year's total.
Next up on the tour schedule is the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational which will also be held in the U.S., before the tour settles back in Europe for the BMW International in Munich, Germany.